standing firm in the gospel

Moving down the street…

image

Just wanted you all to know that I have moved my blog over to Blogger, and you can find me at:

www.markculton.blogspot.com

Better than Gideon

This passage was in my reading this morning –

As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side.http://bible.us/Judg8.33.ESV

As you read through the book of Judges, one is struck with the crucial influence of each judge. Just when the nation of Israel gets into deep trouble, God graciously provides a deliverer who leads the people out of oppression and towards more authentic worship of Yahweh.
Yet as soon as that leader dies (if not before), the people plunge themselves straight into idolatry once again.
It causes me to wonder why so much hangs on individual men (and a few women like Deborah) who are made of flesh and blood like every other human ever created.
Where are all the good men? Where are all the leaders who are able to carry Israel through the difficult times without a judge? Perhaps if there were more men with integrity God’s people would not have experienced such yo-yo conditions.

Of course, when we examine even Gideon’s character, we come to grips with the fact that even he was not above reproach during his life. Particularly towards the end it seems that his many wives and concubines led him astray and he himself flirted with idolatry.

All of this drives me to focus my attention more on Christ, who was far better than Gideon ever could be. He is the True Judge, the Great Deliverer, who lived a life of uncompromisable integrity. Even in His death (especially in His death) our Savior was righteous, and because of His perfection we can also be righteous.

What would our churches look like if they were filled with mighty men like Gideon?

Better yet, what would our churches look like if they were filled with men  better than Gideon; men who are living with the integrity that only Christ can provide? Imagine that.

 

As I was reading this morning in Leviticus, it struck me that one of the differences between the animal sacrifices of the Levitical system and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (who was the perfect and final sacrifice) was suffering.
As far as I can gather from reading through the Old Testament Law all animals were killed for the sacrifices in a quick and exact way. The point was not to make the animal suffer-  rather the point was that the price needed to be paid; and it seems that God was merciful in the way that He instructed the priests to slay the animals.
But, when we think of Christ and how He suffered for hours it causes me to pause and consider this difference. Why did Christ suffer? Wouldn’t it have been more humane for God to arrange a quick death for His Son? Wouldn’t the price have still been paid and sins atoned for? Wasn’t it most agonizing for the Father to see His Son suffer as He did?
We certainly can not plummet the depths of why God arranged redemption as He did, but we do know a couple things from Scripture-

  • Old Testament prophecy demanded that Christ suffer.

Acts 3:18
“18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.”

Hebrews 2 gives the following reasons:

  • That Christ might be crowned with glory and honor
  • That Christ might taste death for everyone
  • Christ’s obedience was perfected through suffering
  • So that Christ might be a merciful and faithful High Priest
  • So that Christ might help us when we suffer temptation

Hebrews 2:9-18
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,12 saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,“I will put my trust in him.” And again,“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

  • Christ suffered as an example so that we might know how to endure suffering in this life

1 Peter 2:20-23

20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

I believe that the wretched nature of our sin required that Christ suffer, and I am filled with joy this morning that my Savior took that upon Himself so that I will never have to taste the death that should result from my sin.

Praise God for the glorious gospel!

http://feeds.theresurgence.com/~r/TheResurgence/~3/hl64ntq2ttU/4-lessons-from-luther-on-married-life

Posted from WordPress for Android

White Noise

While listening to a sermon by Josh Harris this morning I heard him say:
“The gospel does not create a desperation that leaves us hopeless, but a desperation that drives us to salvation in Jesus.”
This caused me to think about the desperation that most people live in who have not yet embraced the gospel. Henry David Thoreau said it well with this statement-

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

How sad; but how true this is. Most people that you and I rub shoulders with, go to school with, work side-by-side with will never realize the true song of their life-  for all mankind is created for the purpose of bringing glory to His Maker. That is the joyful song of our life. But so many spend their days stripped of that music and instead quietly pre-occupied with the white noise of life. This is desperation-  the sort that leaves us hopeless.
But what if we shared with others that the desperation they feel is a result of their alienation from God? What if our unbelieving friends could recognize this desperation, but then be driven to the remedy which is Jesus? That is the purpose of the gospel.
Yes, we are desperate. But we don’t have to remain in quiet desperation. Instead, let us sing the song of the redeemed! And may we share that song with those who are without music.

Posted from WordPress for Android

The gospel is for life

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/OfFirstImportance/~3/Y6UpiApBvhw/

Posted from WordPress for Android

Terms of the gospel bargain

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/OfFirstImportance/~3/AsqaphSMDhM/

Posted from WordPress for Android